It is probable that no gun law would have prevented the rampage at the
Although it’s a piece of cake to buy every weapon used in recent mass shootings in Virginia and most other states, including the .9mm handgun and .22-caliber pistol that the Virginia Tech shooter apparently used, he probably had no criminal record that might have alerted authorities to him. And as experience shows, head cases have a way of getting weapons no matter how tough local laws are.
Face it, after years of head banging by gun-control advocates on the federal, state and municipal levels, the
remains pretty much one big Wild West town when it comes to the sale, possession and use of guns. U.S.
Pro-gun advocates use the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as their fig leaf. What the Constitution doesn't say is that the rights of gun owners trump the rights of everyone else, most poignantly those dead and wounded Virginia Tech students.
It is my view that for all intents and purposes, gun control is dead in
I still find myself becoming teary eyed when I think of those young Amish innocents, whose faith teaches them to turn the other check, but not to expect the violent world around them to beat a path to their school house door. Same goes for the young men and women mowed down in a dormitory and classroom.
Besides which, I take the issue of gun control personal, as they say in Philadelphia street parlance, because I believe the proliferation of guns is a public-health emergency every bit as great as killer obesity or cancer.
The first time I was shot at was while covering the urban riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in April 1968. I got my gun ya-yas out in the Army. But I lived on a farm for many years, and having a gun was a neccessity. (Killing rabid raccoons, putting down sick animals, chasing off paramours lusting after the farmer's daughter. You get the idea.)
I also saw more than my share of what guns can do during a long career in big-city journalism, including what another wacko, John Hinckley, did to Jim Brady, an acquaintance and fellow baseball fanatic who took one for President Reagan.
Jim was the inspiration for the Brady Handgun Control Act, widely known as the Brady Bill, the only gun-control bill with any teeth to pass muster in Congress in forever.
Under the bill, prospective buyers of handguns were required to wait for five days and pass a criminal background check before a sale could be approved. Reagan remained close to Brady, but to the eternal shame of president and Republican Party, it was Bill Clinton who finally signed the Brady Bill in 1993.
The five-day waiting period expired in 1998 and was replaced by a computerized criminal background check prior to any firearm purchase from a dealer holding a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Dealers not FFL worthy can do as they please so long as they don’t violate state law, which in many states is a joke.
In most civilized countries, packing heat is not a right and none of those countries have murder rates remotely as high as the
But there are many millions of guns out there, and there is no way that is going to change without an authoritarian government. Yes, the Bush administration would seem to qualify, but it is slavishly pro-gun. Oh, well.
It is my view that the National Rifle Association is a terrorist organization. Not as overtly so as Al Qaeda, but the NRA shares responsibility for the slaughter from guns in
The only thing for sure is that the carnage will continue.
Guns and gun crime. They're as American as apple pie.
Photo by Alan Kim/The Roanoke Times via Associated Press